Following regulatory changes, more and more entities are looking to take advantage of the opportunity to become members of the international payment schemes.
However, compliance activity in payment systems has always been a requirement, and it is essential for scheme members to engage adequate resources to address this.
How can Accourt help?
Accourt is extremely familiar with the needs and processes of the major payment schemes. That means we can streamline and “de-risk” the membership application process for our clients, saving time and money. It also means we can help our clients understand and manage their scheme compliance obligations.
Scheme Membership Application
With the advent of the Payment Services Directive (PSD) and Single European Payments Area SEPA) in Europe, and with the on-going growth and innovation in payments (for example e-commerce, remittances, prepaid, NFC), more and more entities are looking to become members of the major international payment schemes (Visa and MasterCard).
Many such businesses are from outside the financial services sector, or are relatively small businesses looking to capitalise on specific commercial opportunities. In both cases, they are often unfamiliar with scheme processes and requirements. As such it can often make sense for those candidate new members to engage specialist advisors to help them secure membership status.
Because Accourt has in-depth knowledge of the schemes and the requirements, we are well-placed to manage the membership application on behalf of clients. This delivers benefits to clients in both speed and cost, by ensuring that the right information is provided to the right people in the schemes in the right formats.
For a major non-bank financial institution looking to become a scheme member across multiple European geographies Accourt managed the membership application process end-to-end, negotiating with the relevant payment scheme to secure fast track membership.
For a leading central European private bank entering the card payments market for the first time, we initially helped the client to understand the market needs as well as detailed operational and risk management requirements. We then liaised with and managed the bank’s membership applications to the global payment schemes – memberships were achieved successfully and extremely rapidly.
Scheme Compliance Processes
From a compliance perspective, members of the international card schemes need to make sure that they have a dedicated compliance and scheme management function, reporting at executive or board level. Without such a unit in place, members could find that they are facing extremely heavy financial penalties for non-compliance. These financial penalties could run into millions – a direct hit on the P&L.
Accourt’s deep knowledge of, and long-standing relationships with, the major schemes mean that we can help clients ensure that they are protected against unintentional non-compliance. For example we can help ensure that the correct functional job specifications are in place and that clients employ the right individuals at the appropriate level. We can also help clients to define logical information flows to manage the following key points of interaction with the schemes:
Bulletins and Members' Letters:
in a single year members typically receive over 500 letters covering the technical, financial and operational requirements that must be followed at a country, regional and international level. Each needs to be reviewed and implemented and any non-compliance fines or penalties clearly highlighted.
Card Scheme Rule Changes:
many bulletins and members’ letters will contain proposals for new programmes, or outline changes to existing programmes. It is critical that input from all internal stakeholders is centrally co-ordinated and an agreed response is prepared.
Adequate channels must also be in place to ensure that internal card scheme-related queries from across the business are managed via an agreed process with the card schemes. Without such a process different units within a member may well establish their own informal relationships with the schemes, at which point the ability to prioritise issues commercially will be lost.
Why Choose Accourt
We have a team of high calibre individuals who have successfully managed numerous Regulatory and Payment Scheme applications for organisations wishing to apply for full banking, electronic money and PI licences. Our seasoned experts have both the relevant IP, hands-on experience and operational know-how to ensure successful applications.